At By Hand HQ we are big believers in the power and importance of having inspirational figures to turn to and look up to when you're out there in the wide world, trying to figure out where you fit in. Which is why, we thought International Women's Day was the perfect reason to share with you guys some of the women that we admire the most. Well, when I say 'we', I actually mean, 'me' (Charlotte). So, here goes, welcome to my top 5:
Had to put her name in capitals, because she is my number one. This is partly just by default, as my teen years were heavily infused with Destiny's Child. But also, because very importantly the image of femininity she gives across is positive - sexy and always strong and never ever cheap or sleazy. Seeing her only grow more impressive as a singer and performer over the years, I have also come to admire her as an example of hard work and perfectionism - basically, this woman is the ultimate professional.
2. Madame Grès
This couturier didn't actually start her professional life as a designer, but as a sculptor. She took this unconventional training with her into her dressmaking and created completely timeless grecian draped art-in-dress-form. Her designs absolutely celebrate the beauty and natural elegance of the female form.
3. Sharmadean Reid
Sharmadean Reid is founder of WAH Nails and general London creative hotshot. Without much of an obvious feminist agenda I find myself naturally drawn to female entrepreneurs. But also in general to companies that feel are an extension of the founder, rather than some soulless scheme, and which breathe new life into an existing service or industry. And she totally did just that! She was frontrunner of the nail art revolution, turning it from something tacky or boring to something fun and tuned into your individual style. At the same time she created a loyal tribe of girls that actively embrace her very own WAH ideaology.
This beauty is a total original, in voice and in style. Singing soulfully without vibrato and dressed predominantly in a sharp palette of black, white, denim, red and gold - I can never get bored of looking at or listening to her!
5. Anais Nin
Anais Nin is the author responsible for one of the most important works of erotica ever written - the Delta of Venus - as well as her infamous Diary. Initially she was ashamed of the short stories in Delta, as they were written simply for the money for an anonymous gentleman who asked her for 'less poetry and more sex'. She later published them, saying in her preface: 'Rereading it these many years later, I see that my own voice was not completely suppressed…If the unexpurgated version of the Diary is ever published, this feminine point of view will be established more clearly. It will show that women (and I, in the Diary) have never separated sex from feeling, from love of the whole man.’
And lastly, ladies, give us a shout out to any women on your personal list in the comments below!